22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
6 Jordan Clarkson (PHI)
Game Report
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Gilas brush off slow start for big win in packed MOA Arena

MANILA (Philippines) - The Philippines shrug off a slow start to rebound and claim a massive victory over Saudi Arabia in Jordan Clarkson’s home game debut, 84-46.


The visitors Saudi Arabia caught the home side off guard and led through nearly the entire first 10 minutes, ending the first quarter ahead 14-11. From there, however, the Philippines shook off their rust and jitters and routed Saudi Arabia for the rest of the way.

Jordan Clarkson shined in his home game debut, carrying the offensive load in the first half as his teammates followed suit. Young big man Kai Sotto had his biggest game of the Asian Qualifiers so far with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

Saudi Arabia started the game with an offense that was well-balanced throughout their starters, but struggled to find their rhythm after the first quarter.

The win by the Philippines also clinched FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 qualification for New Zealand, who had previously beaten Jordan, to become the first team from the Asian Qualifiers to do so.


Turning points

Maybe it was jitters, maybe it was just shaking off some jetlag, but whatever it was the Philippines overcame it in the second quarter and came to life. Gilas jumped out to a 26-14 advantage in the second quarter and they didn’t slow down as they outscored Saudi Arabia by 16 points and 13 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

Game heroes

This game was all about the Philippines showing how good of a basketball team they could be with Jordan Clarkson as their superstar in front of their hometown fans for the first time ever and Clarkson delivered.

The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year notched 23 points on 14 shot attempts to go with 5 rebounds and 6 assists.


Not showing in the box scores was how many smiles he put on the fan’s faces at the Mall of Asia arena today, though we’d bet that it would be close to the entire 19,829 individuals in attendance.

Stats don’t lie

Saudi Arabia aren’t small in size and can play pretty physically, but they were dominated on the boards in this game with the Philippines holding a 55-38 advantage on the glass. With the visitors shooting only 25.5 percent from the field and 15.2 percent from downtown, it’s not hard to see why this was such a big win for Gilas.

Bottom line

Saudi Arabia are a solid team. The fact that Gilas were able to overcome their slow start and beat them by 38 points (while holding their opponents to only 46 points) means that they mean business.

With less than a year to go to the World Cup which will be coming back to Manila (as well as Japan and Indonesia), this was a nice statement from the World Cup co-hosts to begin with at least.

Additionally, it has to be emphasized again that this win puts New Zealand into the field of 32 for the World Cup, joining Finland and Cote d’Ivoire who confirmed their spots yesterday.